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Snowden 13, U.s. 12, Edward Snowden 10, Us 8, Paul Ryan 7, George Zimmerman 6, Angie 6, Trayvon Martin 6, Obama 5, America 5, Sam Stein 4, Sherrod Brown 4, Allstate 3, Texas 3, Msnbc 3, Walmart 3, Venezuela 3, Spencer 3, John Mccain 3, Brown 3,
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  MSNBC    NOW With Alex Wagner    News/Business. Alex Wagner.  
   Forces driving the day's stories. New.  

    July 11, 2013
    9:00 - 10:01am PDT  

expected to start this afternoon. george zimmerman has pleaded not guilty and claims he fatally shot trayvon martin in self-defense. right now the prosecution and defense are debating the instructions that will be given to the jury and what specific charges they can settle on. so far judge nelson has ruled that if the jury decides that george zimmerman is not guilty of second degree murder, they could still hand down a verdict that he is guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter. joining me now, msnbc legal analyst, lisa bloom. lisa, tell us about what is going on in the courtroom this morning. there seems to be a lot of back and forth over the specific charges, some new ones being introduced. >> you know, it's been a hallmark of this case in what are usually fairly routine hearings, something dramatic happens. i mean we saw that with george zimmerman yesterday at the moment when we expecteded him to simply say i'm not going to testify and the judge would walk him through it. all of a sudden there were fireworks in the courtroom. and today at charging conference, the part of the trial where, outside the
presence of the jury, the lawyers argue about the specific language of the jury instructions. i'm not going to say it is routine but it is usually fairly low key. fireworks once again. largely that centered around whether a child abuse instruction should be given to the jury. an instruction that since trayvon martin was 17 years old at the time of his death legally a child, there should be an additional charge given to the jury about child abuse and the defense blew up over this. they said this is outrageous that we're being given notice of this at the last minute. we need more time to respond to this prosecution argument. and the judge said, all right, well, i'll give you a little more time. as far as i know, 1:00 p.m. the prosecutor is still set to give his closing argument. that's a little less than an hour from now. i assume the defense poring over the case law. they'll come back from the lunch break, have a little of argument i guess about this outside the presence of the jury. the judge will decide and closing arguments will begin. >> lisa, let's take a look at
the back and forth between don west and the judge earlier this morning. >> somewhere we wondered why the state would put this vague allegation in the information that trayvon martin was 17. no other charge of child abuse, no evidence of anything other than this statement that trayvon martin was a minor, 17 years old. first of all, i move to strike it as surplusage because it is not related to any element of the offense for which george zimmerman is charged, nor related to any conceivable lesser included. so i guess what's happened now, since time that the state filed its information in april, that they've been lying in wait collecting all this loosely connected child abuse case law
where 2 year-olds have been shot by someone who is reckless with a gun, or some child exposed to horrible deprivation or abuse resulting in death, just so at this moment on the day of closing arguments we would have to deal with it. well, i can say it is certainly consistent with the way this case has proceeded since april, but it is certainly just as disingenuous as well. this is outrageous. it's outrageous that the state would seek to do this at this time in this case. >> so lisa, don west is clearly using some strong language there calling this outrageous, asserting to the prosecution has been lying in wait with the child abuse charges. the defense does not seem to want to take this and have this entered into the court record, as it were. >> the information, the charging document filed last april, more than a year ago, does contain a
sentence about trayvon martin being 17 years old at the time of his death and the defense says, aw, now we understand why that was in there. you know, we puzzled over that, why that was in there. now we understand. well, one could say that they have been on notice since that time, perhaps they should have thought this through, they should have been aware of it. but on the defense side of things, look. criminal defendants are entitled to reasonable notice of the facts and the law. this is the last minute, really the last minute as we are going into closing arguments and they are entitled to some time to review everything. the judge said, you've got a whole room full of people downstairs working for you. and don west said those are mostly volunteer interns and law clerks. they are their are only three lawyers on the case and i just don't have enough time. and this is something we've heard from the defense throughout the case, that items have been sprung on them at the last minute. they haven't had time to prepare. and almost every time judge nelson has said, you know what? your time is up, go forward. >> a lot of pyrotechnics in that
courtroom. the closing arguments begin at 1:00 -- in 56 minutes from now. msnbc's legal analyst lisa bloom. thanks, as always. after the break, latest battle over immigration reform gives new meaning to the term a house divided. we'll discuss next on "now."h co . it's a fresh-over. we want you to eat some peaches and tell us what you think. they're really juicy. it must have just come from the farm. this right here is ideal for me. walmart works directly with growers to get you the best quality produce they've ever had. what would you do if i told you all this produce is from walmart? wow! is it really? (laughter) find fresh peaches and all your quality produce. backed by our 100% money back guarantee. walmart.
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two weeks ago today, the senate was celebrating a rare feat of bipartisanship, the passage of an immigration reform bill crafted by both democrats and republicans, one that included something for everyone. but this morning the architects of that bill, senators john mccain and chuck schumer with, met with president obama to find a way to keep house republicans from ending bipartisan efforts
at comprehensive reform. >> this is just what america wants us to do, work together in a bipartisan way to move forward. >> our message to our colleagues in the house is we are ready to negotiate, we are ready to talk, we are ready to sit down with you and negotiate and bring this issue to a conclusion. >> the raucous caucus is united in its opposition to the senate bill, folding the reform effort into the dreaded enchilada of government overreach and likening the upper chamber's immigration proposal to the republican conception of evil. case in point -- yesterday in a statement, speaker boehner around house leadership called the proposed immigration reform project from the senate an obama care-like bill. house republicans made clear that they don't trust the senate with immigration reform and that they don't trust president obama with, well, anything. yesterday congressman tim huelskamp tweeted this -- trusting obama is border security is like trusting bill
clinton with your daughter. one day after congressman raul labrador said on this show the democrats were being intransigent, congressman tom cotton published a "wall street journal" op sed titled "it is the house bill or nothing" on immigration. house leadership is vowing to take a piecemeal approach but the only consensus so far is that border security would come before anything else. after 4 1/2 years of a president who's deported illegal immigrants at a faster rate than george w. bush and increased border security by more than 20% over four years, and despite a proposed bill to provide $38 billion in extra border security, 700 miles of fencing, and 20,000 additional border patrol agents, it appears that the only thing the house gop can agree upon is the need for more -- againsting, guards, security, deportation and drones. as for the other stuff, guest worker visas, the dream act and a path to citizenship for. some of the 11 million
undocumented men and women in this country -- well, that is up for debate. while some republicans insist that the deal making is not yet done, other members of the grand old party don't seem to grasp that it is a complex problem deserving bipartisan compromise. for them, it is still just us versus them. >> you can't separate the dream act kids from those who came across the border with a pack of contraband on their pack. >> joining me today, author and radio host of studio 360, kurt anderson, managing editor of the and an msnbc contributor, joy reid and political editor for "busy insider," josh barrow. joining us now from capitol hill, democratic congresswoman from california, loretta sanchez. she is also a senior member on the homeland security subcommittee. congresswoman sanchez, thank you so much for joining us. we are eager to hear your thoughts on what exactly is going down in the u.s. house of representatives. you heard, as i'm sure we did, senators mccain and schumer
seemed decidedly optimistic, they did sound like this thing is not yet dead. are democrats willing to accept a path to legalization and not a path to citizenship? >> well, we've been working on this for a long time. in fact, mr. labrador was in the working group until goat tired of sitting at the table trying to come up with a compromise. so to hear him say that somehow democrats have not compromised is one of the most ridiculous things i've heard. democrats have compromised. you saw it live in the senate. it's been going on over here in this house. it is the republicans that have said that they won't compromise, all they want to do is bothered security. they don't really care about all of these immigrants. this is not just about latinos. every community has people that have been working here, that are part of the fabric of america, that need legalization, they need to come out of the shadows. they are part of our community. this is about social justice, it
is about traditional family values, and these republicans have just got to get to the table and they've got to help pass this immigration bill. >> maybe it's too premature for this but let me ask you specifically on the question of legalization versus citizenship, do you think there is room for debate/compromise on that issue? >> there's always room for debate. the problem is, as you've heard, it's there way or no way. this is exactly what we see right now on the farm bill with which, by the way, i have to go over and vote right now because it is right on the floor. >> and we appreciate you being here so there is room to debate as far as you are concerned. among democrats on the question of legalization instead of citizenship. >> there's always room to talk. and we will continue to talk with them. but they really need to get off the horse and get going. >> indeed they do. congresswoman, i want to ask you also about the dream act. >> alex,ive iv've got to vote.
it is on the other side. >> we are glad you are off the horse and ready to compromise. we eagerly await your actions in congress. congresswoman loretta sanchez, thanks so much. >> josh, have you an article today talking about don't say it's dead yet. i think -- there's sam stein that just popped up. we have sam stein. i'm sorry, i'll come back to you in a second. joining us from the front lawn of the white house, political editor and white house correspondent for the huffington post, sam stein. i'm sorry, sam, to so rudely not have your introduction at the ready. >> it's okay. i just want to warn you, i have to go vote, too. >> let me just -- i was getting to -- i just asked, if you did hear, congresswoman sanchez says there's room to negotiate on the question of citizenship. how much do you think that is a big deal as far as the survival of comprehensive immigration reform in the house of representatives? >> i'm intrigued by what we said because i haven't heard many
people say it. citizenship is sort of the end goal for a lot of democrats here. i'm not sure what legalization would look like. would it be a derivative of what the obama administration's executive action policy was, which is essentially we're not going to deport you? the devil's always in the details but, you know, democrats, by and large, do think that they've gone more than half-way on this. there are a record number of deportations under the president. border crossings as you've noted on your show many times are at a -- immedia a -- there's no net -- a lot of reform advocates say we've met anti-reform advocates more than half-w half-way. it is time we start getting something in return, especially if there is $40 million more devoted to border security. wonder if legalization but not citizenship is going to be enough.
>> going back to your piece, josh, to some degree i thought of it as making lemonade from lemons. you argue that, look, a, it is better than nothing. right? but, b, the path to legalization ultimately could end up in a path to citizenship later on. >> right. i think sort of when people have been gaming out the immigration bill. either the house passes something substantially similar to the house and senate bill or it passes nothing. if they just adopt the senate bill they'll infewer yacuriate base. on the other hand, if they do nothing then they're going to anger latino voters who already exist and they're going to anger business constituencies that support the republican party and immigration reform. i think that may spur the house to try to come up with something that's more amenable to conservatives but looks reasonably comprehensive. the way you would do that is by having a bill that would have various provisions including legalization of immigrants but wouldn't have a path to
citizenship. could be modeled on the amendment that rand paul offered in the senate where it was no new path to citizenship. basically, if are you here, you can stay legally and work -- >> and you have to pay taxes and will you not get a chance to vote. >> it is not what immigration reform advocates want, but it would be a lot better than making people live in the shadows and under the comprehensive bill in the senate nobody would be made a citizen until 2026 anyway. that gives you 13 years to try to get a path to citizenship later. >> joy, the indignation vibes are -- i can feel them. >> didn't we do this before? wasn't it called indentured servitude? you come and pay all this money out, you aren't a citizen but you're allowed to work on the farm? this sounds like indentured servitude. they don't want to make these folks citizen because they don't think they'll vote for them in 13 years. it is also a very sort of ugly ethnic argument that they don't want to add more brown people to
the population of the united states underlying -- >> this whole thing is sort of a good will effort to make inroads with brown people. i'm not sure it is saying, hey, you can be here but you're not going to be actually a citizen really works. the other thing, this is unbelievable to me -- is the republicans are out in the open arguing we can't let these people in because they're going to be democrats. as if citizenship should be contingent upon your voting record. >> well, yeah. of course. however, if there were 11 million people who were about to vote republican, the democrats would -- politics is what it is. what i find amazing is that when you have these true blue right wing leaders of the house and senate, marco rubio and paul ryan, who are to the left of the tail that is wagging the dog in the house, it's just extraordinary where the center of the conversation has moved. >> yeah. sam, i want to talk about sort of who is pulling the levers on this.
are you standing on the front lawn of the white house and people are wondering sort of what is the white house doing, what does the administration do? the president has a lot, i believe, riding on this. this could be a signature, if not the last accomplishment of his second term. there is word that he may be traveling the country to gin up public support for this but really what can the president do at this point and how is the administration looking at what's going on in the senate and the house? >> that's a ka numb drconundrum. right? the closer he hugs this reform, the more likely the house republicans will reject it. there are some limits as to what kind of political pressure he can apply. white house has stayed really at an arm's length during the deliberations in the senate, primarily because the senators didn't want obama even close to it. the advocacy arm that was birthed from the president's campaign apparatus has done some ad campaigns, they paid for spots, they're targeting certain members.
but the president is, by and large, captive to the events and you're right, it's hard to see anything of substance passing in his second term if this thing doesn't pass. conventional wisdom after the election was that this would be a shoo-in, mitt romney lost the hispanic vote, but republicans have not taken that lesson and it looks like at this point it is in real trouble. >> josh, part of the irony here is that so much of the argument -- i mean the conservative argument here has been so undermined based on how house republicans have acted, and even some in the senate which is to say there is this $30 billion, almost $40 billion program that they want to put in place, which is an increase in the scope and size and duties of the government, which is something the conservatives have been railing against, and not welcoming the $11 million undocumented workers in to america's economy is krechcedin
tax base. >> the republicans are here to spend money on the defense budget -- >> and the border, apparently. >> but i think there is a really interesting divide among republicans on the fiscal costs of immigration where you have people like paul ryan who are very supportive of immigration who have also been trying to significantly cut the size of the social safety net. i think you see this at the state level. republicans in california and arizona have historically been very hostile to immigration. republicans in texas have been a lot more friendly to it, partly because texas has a much less generous welfare state. they aren't that worried about people coming here and collecting government benefits. what government benefits? this is texas. i think paul ryan is not that worried about the cost of entitlements because he just wants to greatly shrink entitlements. i think sort of on the left more reformist wing of the party, people like david fromm trying to push the party to the left have been skeptical offism gr ff
immigration because they worry about the costs of letting people with low incomes come in because they want a big government that has a fair amount of redistributive stuff. >> isn't that premised on the idea that these 11 million people are going to all come in and immediately sign up for the -- the heritage foundation studies say these are just a bunch of deadbeats -- >> the cbo analysis of the senate bill says it helps the economy. raising billions of dollars. >> it isn't just about the dull, this is about middle class entitlements, people who collect medicare and social security. >> they pay taxes. >> but people are relatively low incomes get more out of those programs than they pay in. there are good and just reasons for that but that's also a reason to worry about the sustainability of those programs as the income levels -- >> okay, this goes to the larger debate about whether or not we are in a crisis with earned benefit programs. i do want to say -- joy, i'm curious to get your analysis of
this. paul ryan -- you sense that he knows that they are marching down a bad path and that he is trying to sort of being the guy, the dude with his head screwed on in a room full -- i won't say crazy people -- raucous republicans. and we get the read-out from the meeting yesterday and paul ryan is still trying to push his party forward. i understand that it is not dead yet and i understand that the plan is to have piecemeal legislation. i am hugely skeptical that paul ryan is going to be able to help shepherd the republican caucus given the weakness of speaker boehner on any kind of legislation whatsoever. >> exactly. i think one of the problems the republican party has right now is a lack of credible leadership, people they'll listen to. nobody listens to john boehner. they just tell him what to do in the house. paul ryan was half the ticket that just lost the election. i think he has a lot less credibility and clout, sway now. he's post-voucher. a lot of things that weighed him down and brought him down to earth. then they've got john mccain in the senate. they already disliked him from the '08 campaign.
they didn't he lost the election, didn't do enough to go after obama or the birther thing. there are so many incentives politically for republicans in the house to behave as the raucous caucus because they just don't care. in their districts this doesn't matter. >> in the next political chapter, say a compromised bill with legalization but not citizenship comes about. will democrats say, no, we don't want that, even though it's better than the status quo. we'd rather let the republicans hang themselves on defeating immigration. >> yeah. interesting that you bring that up because there is an excellent piece detailing the immigration deal in the senate. a quote from chuck schumer, the mirror image from the republican side saying they lost the hispanic vote is about democrats understanding it is about time we made a law instead after perfect bill that will never become law. sam, gin the fact that are you at the white house and senators mccain and schumer just left, is there any read-out on sort of what the dynamic there is between -- i mean i asked raul
labrador yesterday whether he had spoken to john mccain yet. he said he hadn't. the communications between elder states men in the republican stat statesmen in the senate and those insurgents in the lower chamber? >> not that i can tell. obviously marco rubio was this great ambassador for the bill when it was going through the senate. he'd talk to his colleagues, go primarily on conservative radio and conservative tv and make the case. are you waiting to see whether he'll do that for his house colleagues, whether he or mccain will have any cache on the other side of congress. i don't think so. they don't -- they're not -- those senators aren't their constituencies. they go back to their districts and hear things from their districts. that's who they pay attention to. kurt asked a great question, what happens if democrats are presented with something that's piecemeal obviously but process on the current status quo. do they reject it because it doesn't fulfill the vision that
they had? i haven't got an good read as to what they'd do when presented with that opportunity. >> we will see. it is pyrotechnics all around. "the huffington post" sam stein. thank you to you my colleague and buddy, joy reid. coming up, while nsa leaker edward snowden seeks to embark on a flight of lisht, wiberty, i wikilea wikileaks. ♪ ♪ chances are, you're not made of money,
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[ woman ] hop on over! [ marge ] fiber the fun way, from phillips'. former nsa contractor edward snowden remains in limbo, camped out in the moscow airport transit zone where he has remained for over two weeks but perhaps not for much longer. although snowden has not formally accepted asylum in any of the three countries where he's been offered refuge, wikileaks tweeted on tuesday that snowden would be launching "the first phase of his flight of liberty" campaign. yesterday "the guardian's" glen greenwald told reuters venezuela would be snowden's most likely asylum option. but that may be just as hard as getting to venezuela. snowden's passport has been canceled and u.s. allies may deny airspace to any flight on which he is believed to be traveling. given that, the hardest part for snowden may be finding a route from moscow without coming
within the reach of the u.s. or those the u.s. may seek to influence. on tuesday white house press secretary jay carney called again for snowden to be returned to the u.s. >> mr. snowden ought to be returned to the united states where he is wanted on felony charges. there is ample legal justification for russia to expel him and that he should not be permitted to engage in murt international travel beyond the travel necessary to return to the united states. we've communicated that position with our russian counterparts and with every country broadly speaking that has been discussed as a possible either transition point or destination point for mr. snowden. >> but the administration's hostility towards edward snowden doesn't seem to be shared by the american people. a new quinnipiac poll this week found 55% of voters regard snowden as a whistle-blower and only 34% consider him to be a
traitor. joining us from washington now, u.s. national security editor for the guardian, spencer ackerman. spencer, thanks for joining us. so spencer, talk first about a guardian headline that says that ♪en asserts -- or has come out and said that he never gave any information to the chinese or russian governments. can you tell us a little bit more about how that might be possible given the hardware that he has received from both the chinese and the russians? >> this is going to come up again and again. a couple weeks ago we had snowden on for a live q&a on our website and i asked him directly if he could speak to that because it is a question a lot of people have. he said no, he hasn't cooperated, he hasn't given any documents, he hasn't given any access to the chinese government, to hong kong, to any government and i pressed him further and he said that he wouldn't do that. it is something that a lot of
people have trouble believing given that he's trying to get to some kind of arrange ware and also that intelligence agencies have extensive ways of trying to get to view someone's documents without them knowing. snowden's documents are, however, heavily encrypted. so it would be very difficult for that to happen without his knowledge. >> a lot of parts of this case disturb me on a certain level and i'd like your read. edward snowden came out in the beginning of all this. he talked about foreign surveillance. he said just because we are surveilling people overseas doesn't make it right and sort of made the case for the international community and civil liberties for the international community or people who weren't necessarily american. he may go to vez which has a terrible record on transparency, on rule of law, on human rights. journalists have been assassinated and killed there and they have effectively
eradicated independent broadcast outlets. given that, is it not incumbent on edward snowden to say something or do something for the people of venezuela if he takes harbor in that country? >> i think a lot of people are going to look to see if snowden ultimately goes to venezuela if he's going to be silent about the issues that you just brought up. >> indeed they will. i want to talk a little bit about those numbers from the quinnipiac poll. >> yeah, they were surprising. >> really interesting. and if you look at the sort of changing public opinion on national security, when asked if american anti-terrorism policies have gone too far in restrict being the average person's civil liberties, in 2010 only 25% of the country thought so. in 2013, 45% of the country thought so. and when asked if antiterrorism policies have not gone far enough to adequately protect the country, in 2010, 63% of the country thought they had had had not gone far enough. in 2013 that number dropped to 40%. >> also the poll found, interestingly, that men are far
more alarmed and libertarian -- when asked those questions than women. >> and i wonder how much of that is the fact that september 11th is now 12 years behind us. and there is perhaps greater awareness in terms of what we are doing when it comes to national security. >> you i think it demonstrates the impact of the snowden revelations. people have said, oh, everything he said, we already knew that. yeah, in a book here or book there that didn't get this kind of non-stop attention that his revelations have gotten. i think it's had had a very big effect. i also wonder if when the white house sees this large majority calling him a whistle-blower, not a traitor, how that affects their calculation. do we bring down the plane? because at this point it is not a grave matter of national security. what happened to edward snowden, frankly. so how much capital, political
capital do you spend to get your man? >> this is an administration that came in with the president is a constitutional law scholar, professor. we talked a lot about that. you look at what's happening with edward snowden, and gitmo, the hunger strike, two members of congress are petitioning the white house to stop force feeding inmates, which is a violent, violent process. we continue drone strikes. we have drone bases in north africa. you reported earlier this week that we had our first drone landing on an aircraft carrier. this is an administration that's pursued aggressively counterterrorism strategies that i think would surprise many voters if they had heard about them in 2007. >> if you look at the line about obama as a constitutional law professor, it matters a lot less than obama in office.
politicians tend to say what it takes to get them to the oval office and read their constituencies and the constituencies they need to read rather differently than what they do when in office. and it seems to be more in incumbent from an explanatory perspective to look at obama's behavior after 2009 than before it. >> josh, the other thing is, we talk a lot about what will happen to edward snowden but it is actually -- i agree with jay rosen, the nyu professor here, it is more about the cass kate effect after snowden. to some degree i had think this is really prompting an examination of the legal infrastructure that allows to us do this. what i have determined from my in-depth research, but what i have learned from reading about this is that the terms that sort of justify these actions are incredibly vague, whether it's like imminent threat that justifies drone strikes, whether it's access to the internet which is basically what the u.s. government's case against bradley manning's sort of
treason hangs upon. i mean these are open to wild amounts of interpretation and what does that mean for the next administration? >> right. and i think the productive thing that edward snowden has done is cause this debate to become more public and more substantive. i'm hopeful that as the government tries to figure out -- first of all, what do we do to get people to not leak? they want to prevent the next one from rising so they have to go hard against edward snowden. but the president at the commission from how the government could keep fewer secrets so there would just be less after secrecy state to keep contained, i'm hopeful that that will be a part of the discussion that comes forward from this. i do think we need clearer laws but we also just need fewer secrets in the government's hands so that it is easier to keep them and so that when they tell the press and public, tho, it is a really bad things when leaks happen, that will be more credible because they aren't keep so many unnecessary secrets. >> spencer, that's part of the fisa court and whether or not
there going to be more transparency around the fisa court relation. the defense in the bradley manning case rested yesterday. the prosecution is beginning rebuttal witnesses. for a large part the u.s. government contends bradley manning aided the enemy by virtue of the fact that al qaeda read the internet and that's where he posted the wikileaks documents. >> this is an extraordinary claim. it is something that you've also seen in kind of the loose media discussion about snowden. conflating, being a leaker. we won't even use the term whistle-blower for sake of argument. between being a leaker and being a spy. yes, of course, al qaeda reads the internet. you and i read the internet. if all of a sudden the criterion for spy something making documents public, then we are essentially saying the public is the enemy and that's an extreme statement. >> a lot of interesting ideological arguments. really particular to the 21st century coming out of all this.
ed "guardian's" spencer ackerman, thanks for your time. coming up, washington once again drops the ball on student loan rates. we'll discuss why the government charges u.s. banks less than it does american students and the prospect of a generation underwater when senator sherrod brown joins us just ahead. is like hammering. riding against the wind. uphill. every day.
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yesterday for the second time in two weeks, the senate failed to restore lower interest rates on federal student loans which doubled from 3.4% to 6.8%
last week when congress left for recess without taking action to prevent the scheduled increase. the proposal from democrats, the one that failed to break the senate filibuster yesterday, would have left interest rates for subsidized loans for students from moderate and low-income households at 3.4% another year. while lawmakers took up a comprehensive overhaul in the meantime. meanwhile the republican proposal which has the support of democratic senator joe manchin links interest rates to the financial markets, a plan that senator elizabeth warren says would only exacerbate the problem of government profiting off of student loans. according to the cbo, the government is poised to pocket $51 billion in profit from student loan borrowers this year. the government profiting is happening at a time when student loan debt in the u.s. now exceeds $1 trillion. if congress doesn't reach an agreement before the august recess, some 7 million students will face higher rates on federal loans. when senator warren took to the floor on monday to defend the bill, she urged her colleagues
to consider that the issue is not just about the numbers. >> i talk a lot about math but the senate's decision about student loans is a decision about our values and a decision about how we build a future. we shouldn't treat our students like a profit center. we shouldn't ask them to pay an extra tax to go georgia to school, and we shouldn't try to trick them by shuffling numbers around, hitting them with teaser rates and declaring that a problem is solved while students just keep paying more and more. >> joining us now from capitol hill, democratic senator from ohio, sherrod brown. senator brown, thanks so much for joining us. please, please bring us some good news from capitol hill. there has been so much reason for heartache this morning and i ask you with, senator, do you think that the student loan question is something the senate can and will do something about before the august recess? >> well, we should. i can't predict because it's not even reasonable about what
happened. we should lock this percentage in for a year. we should work on how we're going to do this, whether it is market based or not, but it shouldn't be on the back of -- the government shouldn't be making billions of dollars on the backs of students. we need to do more about college affordability. 15% of these student loans of the trillion dollars are loans with private banks. interest rates sometimes 8%, 10%, 12%. we need to push those banks to refinance those mortgages which we've been reluctant to do. that's sort of one of the untold stories here where it is even more outrageous in a moral sense and public policy sense than the overall 3.4% perhaps. but we've got to lock this in, take a year and figure out how to do this and do it right. >> senator with, i think a lot of people are shocked to learn that the government is profiting to the tune of $51 billion at a time when students have nearly $1.2 trillion in outstanding debt. i mean now student debt i believe is the number one cause
of death in the united states, beating out credit cards. and yet there seems to be partisan obstruction in and around this issue. education used to be a bipartisan concern in the united states. >> yeah. the $1 trillion in student loan debt. the only thing higher is mortgage debt in this country. as you said, it exceeds credit card debt, everything else. the government shouldn't be making money off these loans. we should lock in an interest rate of 3.4%, we need to force the private banks, carrot and stick approach both, to renegotiate, refinance these 8%, 10%, 12% loans. we need to address the college affordability in a more widespread way. the average debt for someone who has a student loan in this country is now $30,000. it means when they get out of school they often can't buy a car or start a business or buy a house and it's bad for the economy. it's bad for these families and it just doesn't hit students.
obviously hits their parents and their whole family. >> that is the story here. it has a sort of cascade effect. you are in debt, you can't buy a car, you can't contribute to the u.s. economy. now i believe a quarter of american adults between 18 and 30 live with their parents. unemployment rate for millennials is 16.1%. >> people keep asking why is the housing recovery so slow, though it's been a little better the last few months? it's because millennials can't afford to buy a home because they are so burdened with debt. part of the fix on that is on the interest rates. but the senator's been getting at this. i'd interested to know if he has more detailed thoughts on what we do to making college actually cheaper rather than just financing it more cheaply. over the last 30 years we've had twice as much inflation in college tuition than health care costs. >> nothing has gone up like college costs. my wife, first in her fm to go to college. her dad was a utility
maintenance worker, her mom was a home care worker. she graduated from kent state 30-plus years ago with student debt of $1,200. one of the problems is the private bank loans. one problem is financing generally. but we need a much more comprehensive approach so that working class and middle class kids have a chance to go to whether it is sinclair community college in dayton or cleveland state or dennison university. whether public, private, two or four year, but to get whatever training and education they need to move forward. we've really short-changed this generation. >> it is a huge part of the debate. senator sherrod brown, thank you. thanks to my friends here in new york city, kurt and josh. that's all for now. i'll see you back here tomorrow at noon eastern. until then you can find us at andrea mitchell picks up
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right now on "andrea mitchell reports" -- closing arguments. after 22 days of trial, 12 days of testimony, and 56 witnesses, including testimony from two mothers. >> we would call sgrezbre sybri. >> my youngest son is trayvon benjamin martin. he's in heaven. >> is that the fear and terror without question your son's voice? >> yes, sir. >> now george zimmerman trial moves into its final phase. today the prosecution makes their case directly to the jury, then tomorrow the defense makes one last push for zimmerman's innocence after he chose not to testify. >> mr. zimmerman, please stand up. is it your decision to not testify in this case? >> yes, your honor.
>> the jury could get the case as early as tomorrow but asle trial winds down, both sides are deciding what charges should be on the table. >> -- continually disagree with this court every time i make a ruling. i have provided you on three separate occasions with the court's professional conduct in the courtroom. >> good day, i'm andrea mitchell in washington. we'll hear closing statements from the lead prosecutor after the judge makes a key ruling on lesser charges in the case. it will be a book end to a case that focuses on one key question -- was the shooting death of trayvon martin murder or self-defense. over the course of three weeks we have heard testimony from trayvon martin's own family members, as well as george zimmerman's family and neighbors, and forensic experts trying to piece together just what happened the night martin died. so let's bring